Congress asks Duterte to consider replacing Diokno as budget chief

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, December 12) — The House of Representatives wants Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno out.

It adopted on Wednesday a resolution penned by Minority Leader Danilo Suarez urging President Rodrigo Duterte to reconsider Diokno's appointment.

This came on the heels of a spat between Diokno and the House leadership on Tuesday, as they grilled the Budget Chief on the upcoming and this year's budget.

Suarez said Diokno inserted ₱2.8 billion in the funds for Sorsogon province to aid his son-in-law, Casiguran, Sorsogon Mayor Edwin Hamor. Diokno denied this.

House Majority Leader Rolando Andaya, who was budget secretary during the Arroyo administration in 2006, said Diokno had illegally inserted ₱75 billion in the 2018 budget of the Department of Public Works and Highways. Diokno said the insertion was not illegal.

READ: Diokno denies conflict of interest in Sorsogon budget

"There are doubts as to the Secretary's integrity and use of his position in accommodating and merging family with public interests," Suarez said in the resolution.

Citing the above incidents, Suarez asked Duterte to replace Diokno.

"Therefore, be it resolved as it is hereby resolved that the House of Representatives urge His Excellency Rodrigo Roa Duterte, to reconsider the appointment of Hon. Benjamin Diokno as Secretary of the Department of Budget and Management," the resolution read.

The House and Diokno have a history of conflict when it comes to the national budget, having had previous debate on Diokno's proposal to implement a cash-based budget system.

READ: The struggle for the 2019 national budget